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From: TSS ()
Date: April 13, 2005 at 6:34 am PST

-------- Original Message --------
Date: Wed, 13 Apr 2005 08:22:13 -0500
From: "Terry S. Singeltary Sr."
Reply-To: Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy

##################### Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy #####################



Tough talks concerning BSE are on the global horizon Meat Processing
Global editor Chris Harris says.

World trade in beef faces a crucial meeting next month. It is not a
meeting of the U.S. judiciary or the European Commission. It is a
meeting of the World Organization for Animal Health - the OIE.

For following the annual meeting of the organization on May 22, the
potential risks from levels of bovine spongiform encephalopathy could
all change. There are several actions being taken in different countries
and different blocs around the world that could come to bear on the
decisions taken in Paris, France, on May 22. Although any decision by
the OIE will not be binding on governments around the world, any
decision to relax BSE regulations will be used by parties at present
excluded from world markets as a lever to reopen them.

There are reported to be moves being considered to permit boneless beef
on to the market without BSE testing - a controversial step in itself -
but even more controversial considering the different emphasis on BSE
testing that takes place around the world.

While some countries test animals older than 30 months of age, others
test all animals older than 24 months and Japan insists that all animals
slaughtered for beef must be tested. Then OIE has asked Japan to declare
its finding from using this all-out testing and although there are moves
for Japan to relax testing methods to animals over 20 months, there can
be expected some heated exchanges on what constitutes a safe age not to
test cattle, when the BSE rules are debated in May.

Further to this in Europe, the United Kingdom is pressing ahead to have
beef from cattle aged 30 months allowed back onto the market. At present
all animals over the age of 30 months are destroyed. This measure was
introduced when the United Kingdom first discovered BSE as a catch-all
precaution because 30 months was seen as the general incubation age for
BSE and also because there were still concerns that infected meat and
bone meal feed might still have been used illicitly on farms and animals
born before a ban was introduced were more likely to be infected. Since
the meat-and-bone-meal ban has been effective, there is now confidence
in agricultural and health circles that cattle older than 30 months of
age are safe and the United Kingdom wants to see this valuable source of
income for the industry reintroduced with testing.

In another move, North America - the United States, Canada, and Mexico -
want to seen the OIE rules changed, because they feel that they are
disadvantaged by the way they are set out at present. They are concerned
that trade is limited by the prevalence of BSE rather than the measures
that have been put in place to ensure the public safety.

It is strange that just less than 10 years ago, when the disease was
discovered in Europe and countries such as the United Kingdom and
Ireland were saying that their beef was safe because of the
precautionary measures in place, countries such as the United States
were incredulous and were at the head of a strict trade ban - a ban that
still exists and that is E.U. wide.

Now, the United States is reported to be seeking new definitions of risk
from the OIE, to reduce its status. At present, countries are ranked as
BSE-free, provisionally free, moderate risk, or high risk. The United
Kingdom -- because of the falling cases of BSE -- has just been ranked
as a moderate risk aligning itself with the rest of Europe. The U.S.,
which has had one case is also a moderate risk and it is concerned that
once a country has confirmed a case of BSE, the category "provisionally
free" will never be assigned.

There is a call for a new definition of negligible risk to be
introduced. This is a remarkable change is stance from the U.S. in such
a short time and purely because they have felt the effects that a trade
ban can have.

The United States, Canada, and Mexico also want harmonized controls to
ease trade. But why were the controls established in the first place?
They were put in place as a public safeguard and to allay consumer
fears. Any watering down of the measures, without due deference to the
consumer will bring a false hope for the industry. The image of safety
should never be sacrificed on the altar of trade, but at the same time
reality of what the risks are needs to be addressed and needs to be
demonstrated to the consumer.

With this in mind, we wait to se the outcome of next month's meeting.
The OIE has some tough talking and hard thinking to do.

Web posted: April 12, 2005
Category: Opinion

IF the OIE caves in to USA pressure, they should then
be disbanded for good. THIS policy of BSE MRR is nothing more than a free pass to spread TSEs all
around the Globe for the sake of a dollar, to hell
with human/animal health. NOT one shred of science
was this based on.....


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